The tourism of silence
Rest is an essential part of life. Unfortunately, a large part of society neglects it undeservedly by leaving it to the whim of behaviours that are far from ideal and largely influenced by a rhythm of life that just keeps on accelerating. We live in a society where our lives are dictated by the economy. Basic necessities that underlie mental stability – like sleeping and much needed moments of silence – have been relegated to a secondary position.
Sleeping well is associated with an absence of noise and the ability to disconnect from the digital world that is revolutionising the infinite social development of our planet. Pleasant sleep is the key to avoiding signs of stress and the physical and mental exhaustion produced by hyper-stimulation of the senses.
The importance of sleeping well has become a luxury for a large part of a society that’s growing economically – but not spiritually – if the restorative power of human sleep is not respected. Sometimes, it becomes necessary to stop on this path and take a detour that allows us to enjoy the benefits offered by rest tourism, a new type of holiday that offers unique and innovative options around the globe.
Sleep as a basic “rest tourism” strategy
The human sleep cycle is positioning sleep quality as an important topic in the management manuals of tourism organisations that are beginning to echo the importance of a good night’s rest. Problems related to a lack of a good night’s rest are being translated into an offer of services aimed at rest, relaxation and a global sense of disconnection, satisfying a demand for peace that people are willing to pay for if they can’t achieve it themselves.
The consequences of insufficient sleep involve a series of problems that are manifested in a variety of personal and behavioral problems, including a continuous feeling of tiredness, a drop in creativity levels, anxiety disorders, stress, lowered productivity in work, and lower levels of concentration. In contrast, sleeping well offers many health benefits, like improved neuronal regeneration, a sharpened metabolic system, an increase in learning ability, improved removal of toxins and other unnecessary elements in the body, and more.
The main root of bad sleep lies in unhealthy practices around sleeping schedules, conditioned by time. That’s why it’s common to always wake up at the same time even without an alarm clock, as we are operating according to behaviour patterns that have been conditioned by our personal and professional lives.
At the end of a busy day, it can sometimes be difficult to switch off, with our minds continuing to work despite the fact that all we want is to fall into the world of dreams to provide respite from stress and everyday madness. Many people wake up every morning with the feeling that they are more tired than when they went to bed, which is where psychology once again steps in to explain part of why sleep – or the lack of it – dictates the lives of so many people in our big little world.
The 21st century has arrived, laden down with an unforeseen number of new technologies that have digitised the lives of much of the world to a greater or lesser extent. This digitalisation has exponentially revolutionised companies’ working methods. These advances allow the establishment of social relationships among people all over the world without the need to physically move, as well as easy, fast and efficient labour management in companies that have chosen to use big data.
To avoid new technologies becoming a basic and indissoluble tool of survival, we need to impose a new priority when it comes to the use of digital tools. But in order to do this, we must place importance on offline communication, since extrapolating the use of digital communication to all aspects of our lives can saturate our cognitive abilities.
And it’s not just new technologies that cause us to deviate from the path to silence and escapism – there are other factors that prevent us from reaching full rest and relaxation. These aspects are the ones which, over time, push us to look to rest tourism to revitalise our lives, calming the stress and saturation that stem from a lack of quality sleep.
If there is one thing for which today’s tourism stands out, it is trend-driven dynamism, particularly regarding trends that help us to flee the day-to-day and awaken a sense of adventure in those who are open to enjoying a deep and invigorating rest. This search for new emotions means something new must must always be brewing on a global stage that itself is always changing, but which clearly focuses on recreation and personal achievement.
Rest tourism is based on the act of escaping from everyday life using various strategies that take us to places where we can temporarily take refuge, safe in the knowledge that the only stimuli we’ll receive are ones related to pleasant, sleepy states.
Sensory stimulation as a strategic competitive factor in rest tourism
The 21st century is replete with new trends when it comes to designing an offer that’s increasingly oriented towards satisfying new relaxation needs which, in turn, produce new and different sensory stimulations. This change in the paradigms of use and enjoyment of tourism are encouraging numerous companies to choose sensory marketing, which positions the senses as the main strategic elements of engagement and loyalty.
The main advantage when it comes to managing this type of marketing is that it can be adapted to almost any tourism sector, since sensory rest and relaxation is a goal pursued by everyone.
How do the senses impact on escapism in tourism?
Getting adequate, effective rest in a holiday destination depends greatly on the ability of the offer to encourage a sense of affection for the destination – allowing temporary total disconnection from the usual monotony – for the visitor. It’s also worth remembering that sensory stimulation needs to be present in each and every stage of the product life cycle, especially during growth and maturation.
Sound is one of the most important and vulnerable senses in the process of learning and assimilating content, which is why a large part of the tourism industry seeks to strategically connect music to their offer. A soft, formal tone is of specific interest, as it evokes an image of harmony, peace and professionalism in the mind of the consumer.
When it comes to getaways, sound, along with the other senses, requires a silent, tranquil environment to achieve pleasant and effective rest. Sounds that generate a sensation of tranquility and quiet in the mind of the human being usually come from nature, sounds that cannot be heard in an overpopulated urban area full of acoustic pollution.
Receiving the visitor in a tourist establishment with soft, relaxing music generates a sensation of tranquility that will doubtlessly complement the impression the visitor has after using and enjoying the destination. What’s more, the level of personalisation of the music that visitors hear is a significant aspect of added value in the development of a brand reputation.
Associating smells with moments, places or things is a cognitive function connected to learning. This must always be remembered when preparing your offer – under no circumstances should the consumer leave with a bad experience or image linked to the smell of the establishment.
A discreet approach to artificial fragrance that evokes natural spaces or which has a direct connection with the place and moment in which they find themselves will play a large role in determining the image of a place the visitor will take with them.
Scent is one of the senses that most influences memory as it unleashes a series of sensory-related emotions – think of a hotel reception that uses the same fragrance in all of its establishments, or walking in front of a restaurant where every day they create a new scent that awakens the interest of passers-by. This helps establish a connection with the specific place when these scents are smelled again and help confer identity and encourage consumption via this new dimension of sensory marketing.
Gastronomic culture has gained ground in recent decades, playing a leading role in tourist experiences and becoming an intrinsic cultural aspect to any destination. It is highly valued by the visitor when it comes to evaluating their visit. Enjoying the typical gastronomy of a destination is seen by the tourist as forming part of the immaterial cultural exchange, translating into customs and culinary traditions that reinforce and develop the travel culture along the way. For many travellers, the ability to directly enjoy the most traditional, home-cooked recipes, handed down from generation to generation without losing their essential essence, is what makes their holiday a true adventure.
The first impressions are truly the ones that count for the visitor on most occasions, and they condition their later reviews. It’s safe to say that an image is indeed worth a thousand words, and that the experience conferred by the impression is even more valuable. What’s more, the first visual impact transmits a series of information to the brain which is then studied and compared with the image already present in the mind.
The visual delight that landscape, decoration, and nature grants every tourism establishment helps it develop a special type of value. Rest tourism is developing a new type of offer that’s rich in visual quality without the majority of users knowing that that looking at it releases dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins in the brain, the hormones responsible for pleasure, motivation, mood and happiness. What’s more, playing with visual elements inside establishments generates an improved connection between offer and supply, as it makes it easier to associate a brand image.
Touch is essential to be able to enjoy the senses as a whole. Details such as a well-considered bed in the accomodation are part of a competitive strategy – the type of bed, use of natural mattress, availability of different pillows, type of mattress, texture and quality or softness of the towels all become of extreme importance to the client.
To complement this, the temperature level directly influences a visitor’s rest, as they visualise each and every one of the elements, directly and indirectly, related to their tourism-related experience of silence.